We can all think of people in our lives who are smart as the dickens but they seem to lack emotional intelligence. They don’t seem to understand that tone matters, that body language and facial expression matters, that words matter. It’s not always what they say but how they say it – and when – that seems a bit ham-handed.
Poor communicators tend to lack a good filter – they say too much or in the wrong way and at the wrong time. Or they give themselves away and undermine trust and credibility by sighing, eye-rolling, table-smacking, sharp vocals, aggressive stance and/or apathetic posture.
One of my early mentors told me, “It’s not just what you say but what you don’t say that speaks volumes about you as a human being.”
Recently Carl Richards, a.k.a. The Sketch Guy, told me when things go wrong with clients, staff or loved ones, his philosophy is “hugs first, lecture later.”
And we’ve all heard the old but true saying to help us remember to listen more than we talk, “Two ears, one mouth.”
TWO PRIMARY TYPES OF COMMUNICATION
There are two primary types of communications financial advisors and firms should use in their communications and marketing campaigns:
“I know” messages show the listener/reader that you know what you are talking about – that you are an expert on that topic. For instance, when the stock market is volatile, a professional financial advisor will reassure their clients that they’ve been through market ups and downs before and that the plan they have developed for the investor is designed to withstand these types of fluctuations. “I know” messages are clear and logical. They are typically based on facts or well-informed opinions. This type of messaging appeals to the human brain.
The goal is to have “I know” messaging evoke these types of thoughts:
“I care” messages evoke feelings more than they do thoughts. Communications that let the listener/reader know that they are important to you, that you feel their pain, that you too have concerns related to whatever is going on (e.g., the global pandemic), and that you are there for them as more than just a business professional are “I care” messages. This type of messaging appeals to the heart more than the head. But when emotions are stirred – whether those are positive or negative emotions – people tend to decide what to do based on their feelings; they then rationale their decision with logic.
The goal is to have “I care” messaging stir up these types of feelings:
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Marie Swift is President and CEO of Impact Communications, Inc., a full-service marketing communications firm serving a select group of independent financial advisors and allied institutions. Impact Communications works solely within the financial services industry. Credibility Marketing is a key area of expertise.
Learn more at www.ImpactCommunications.org.